Water Safety Sauvie Island

(KPTV image)

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - As temperatures rise this week, lots of people will head to local waterways to cool off and enjoy the last few weeks of summer. But a recent string of drownings has many worried about safety.

The beach at Sauvie Island was lined with people Saturday - soaking in every last ray of sunshine.

"It's a great island and a fun place to hang out with your family," said Jay Baird.

While there were some people swimming, Jay and his family stuck to building sand castles.

"I went in a little bit, but it got a little chilly. I went to the waist - kind of the warning area - then I ran back in," said Jay.

Jay said with their little one, they are very cautious around rivers.

"We went boating a couple weeks ago on the Willamette and we all wore life jackets, and definitely if she's in the water, we put her in the life jacket," said Jill Baird.

That's what officials want to hear. They say life jackets can save lives.

Crews have been busy this summer responding to several drownings in the Portland area.

On Friday, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office recovered the body of Stephen Coward from the Columbia River.

Officials say Coward went under the water near Sand Island Monday night. His friends called 911 after he struggled to make it to shore and disappeared under the water.

There's no word if he was wearing a life jacket. But in many of the drownings over the summer, the victims were not wearing life jackets.

It's something officials want everyone in the water to be wearing as they enjoy the last few weeks of summer.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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